Dynamic Testing Solutions Blog

'Bath Salts' Drugs Warnings

Doug McLachlan - Thursday, December 01, 2011
ScienceDaily (Oct. 13, 2011) — Urgently needed tests which could help identify the manufacturers of designer 'legal high' drugs are being developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. The drugs, known by names such as 'ivory wave' and NRG-1" and sold labelled as bath salts, plant food and incense, mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as amphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy. Although these so-called 'designer drugs' can be dangerous, many have not yet been made illegal and are difficult to detect with current drug tests.



A means of potentially tracing the source of the raw materials, and consequently providing information as to who is making the 'bath salts,' is being developed by scientists at Strathclyde and The James Hutton Institute.

The bath salts drug can cause euphoria, paranoia, anxiety and hallucinations. It often contains mephedrone, a synthetic compound structurally related to methcathinone, which is found in Khat -- a plant which, like mephedrone itself, is illegal in many countries.

The bath salts drug is labelled as being not for human consumption and is not illegal in the UK but its import has been banned. The term 'bath salts' is used by those who sell the drug as a way of circumventing legislation when supplying it.

The researchers developing tests for the drug are using a technique known as isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) to reveal the course of a drug's manufacture.

The research is being carried out by Dr Oliver Sutcliffe, at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, and Professor Niamh Nic Daeid and Dr Katy Savage at the Centre for Forensic Science in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, in collaboration with Dr Wolfram Meier-Augenstein at The James Hutton Institute.

Dr Sutcliffe said: "The legal status of designer drugs varies around the world but they present many dangers to users and these are borne out by the Home Office's decision to ban the import of 'bath salts.'

"The new method we have used has enabled us to work backwards and trace the substances back to their starting materials. IRMS measures the relative amounts of an element's different forms- it is successful because these relative amounts are transferred like a fingerprint through the synthesis of the drug."

In previous research, the Strathclyde team developed the first pure reference standard for mephedrone, as well as the first reliable liquid chromatography test for the substance, which could be run in a typical law enforcement lab.

The team has also developed a comprehensive screening method for 16 known legal high drug variants using conventional gas chromatographic analysis and are developing a semi- quantitative colourimetric test kit for legal highs which can be used by law enforcement at point of seizure, facilitating a more rapid response to these materials.

The project was presented at the recent 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), which was held in Denver.

Bath Salts

Doug McLachlan - Saturday, June 04, 2011

Drug Czar Warns Against Taking 'Bath Salts' Drugs

 


White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske warned people Tuesday against taking the newest synthetic drugs, often marketed as "bath salts" and being sold legally on the Internet and in drug paraphernalia stores.
The powdered drugs are sold under such brand names as "Ivory Wave" or "Purple Wave." Kerlikowske said synthetic stimulants in them have made hundreds of users across the country sick already this year. A Mississippi sheriff's office has said the drugs are suspected in an apparent overdose death there.
"They pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of young people and anyone who uses them," Kerlikowske said in a written statement. The American Association of Poison Control Centers has received 251 calls related to "bath salts" so far this year, compared to 236 such calls to poison centers during all of 2010.
Kerlikowske said these stimulants can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure and heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusions.
Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for Kerlikowske's office, said the drugs mimic the effects of cocaine, ecstasy, and LSD.
Kerlikowske's office convened a meeting of federal drug and health officials at the White House Tuesday to discuss their growing popularity. He was later briefed on that discussion, Lemaitre said.
The "bath salts" drugs, also sometimes labeled as plant food, contain the synthetic stimulants MDPV, or 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone, and mephedrone. Those chemicals are neither controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration nor approved for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration.
No plans for federal regulation plans were announced Tuesday. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has drafted a bill that would add the chemicals to the list of federally controlled substances.
Hawaii, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, and North Dakota are considering legislation to ban the products. Several counties, cities, and local municipalities have also taken action to ban these products.
DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said users "are playing Russian roulette when you are dealing with this stuff."
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouz9ii-2Aqk]
Payne said the DEA is working with health officials to study abuse data and other information about the synthetic stimulants used in the "bath salts." For now, he said people should simply stay away from the drugs.
"Just because something is not illegal . does not mean it's safe," Payne said.
The "bath salts" are the latest synthetic drugs to be targeted by federal authorities. In November, the DEA announced its intention to use emergency authority to ban five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana products that were also sold in drug paraphernalia shops and on the Internet.
- Article from The Associated Press.

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